Friday 18 January 2008

Just me, thinking about things

Design for print and papercut 1991

Unfinished test cut from one of my papercut sketchbooks 1991

(reverse side shown)

I have mountains of white art, books, ceramics, textiles that I planned to photograph and show from my past, but my energy is at it's lowest in 17yrs, even picking up the camera seems like preparing for a mountain hike, so I'm afraid you are stuck with the things I had already taken shots of for other purposes. I do have some good pics, but it's things I'm still haven't the courage to show. You'd think I'd feel easier about it 17 years on but the fact that I made this work when I first had M.E means that all the feelings I had invested in it then are all popping up again mow, so it feels current, not old at all.

This next bit is just thoughts that needed out of my head after a particularly difficult time walking Lucy today, nothing to do with art so you may want to skip it.

Update - My post was depressing me a bit so I've moved it to the comments section, but have left the relevant photo's here and also the link to
Danger: field liable to sudden collapse. Also the link for Marley, losing our jobs, and Lucy (who was called Tia then).

View from the dangerous field, December '07

Hedge on the edge of the dangerous field, December '07

Giant Hogweed in the dangerous field, December '07


Camilla said...

Keeping a blog has really helped me put things into order and perspective over the last few years- it seems to make no noticeable difference when i'm doing it, but looking back over the years is an eye opener.

I believe this year will be better for all of us aching people.

mansuetude said...

...don't bottle it up inside Cally... even the clouds let go of their water, to rain all over the earth... we all have the right to release... and we are able to .

Your work is wonderful, and your art, and your voice. You make a huge difference. Do it. Daily. Peace and may all the white do for you what it does for me, wash clean all the otherness i don't like, all the dreck and the pain and the uck...!

YOUR writing is true and beautiful here... that is what words ask of us..thanks.

Cally said...

My post was depressing me so I shifted it to here....

I'm finding it impossible to sleep with the wind and rain battering walls, windows, roof. The good side of it is that people don't go out, so it's easier to avoid conversation when I walk Lucy. The walks seem harder each day, my muscles, bones and joints are adamant that they are not playing this game of faking normality outside the house, but my heart and my mind force the issue, she needs her walks. We walk slowly, each step a balancing act where I feel my jelly legs may give way at any moment as the nearby curtains twitch, waiting for an event to pierce the grey day. So far, I have not been the source of their days gossip, not to my knowledge.

We walk, head into the wind, thanking the weather for keeping the streets empty. Every step feels like lifting a leg to which someone has tied 50 bags of sugar. In the past I have tended to close my eyes when the street is empty, opening occasionally to check for hazards as I walk. Do you do that? It's so nice in spring when you feel the first warm sun of the year on your skin as you walk. But with Lucy I have to be vigilant, one sign of a cat and she could pull me off my feet. Too heavy a price to pay for a moment of peace. Not that she's bad generally, but if they run and I don't correct immediately she will chase.

I still have mixed feelings about forcing myself to walk. I am utterly exhausted before, during and after. It seems crazy to push it. But I stagnate if I don't get fresh air and I have moments, short but powerful, of feeling freedom when I get to the bit of field where no-one else goes (Danger: field liable to sudden collapse). Freedom from bed, from the four walls, from being sick and feeling useless. From people staring at my pained steps and rubbing their hands at the prospect of a captive audience for their stories. I often used to like their stories, in small doses, but now it is too much.

So I like that place they don't walk, and I stay near the edge so I won't be on the collapsing ground (where a man and his dog died years earlier). And I enjoy the silence. Not that it is silent at all, the wind is vicious coming across the open fields from the hill. But even vile weather seems good, the colder the bite of the wind the more I feel like I am alive. The more rain that hits me the greater the distraction from aches and pains. I ignore the fact that the pains will increase because I was out. I focus on the pleasure of feeling my circulation re-start, knowing I will have an hour of warm feet and hands when I get home.

Mostly I just stand there and let her do her thing, she runs around excitedly smelling the fox and rabbit scents from the night before. She loves it there. Many people would be bored but I like the different horizons in each direction. Looking at the ground is good too, lots of dried up weeds and grasses ranging from a few centimetres to 2 or 3 metres tall like this giant hogweed... (picture on main post)

Hard to believe but it was a year ago we got Marley. I still miss him. We chose him on the 6th and it felt like 2007 was getting off to a fine start. Finally, a dog in my life again, the balance restored. I never imagined he'd be gone in March or that one year on instead of stomping up hills for 2hrs with him I'd struggle to walk at all. Never imagined my new boss would tell us in a few weeks that were all about to lose our jobs. Never imagined we'd get Lucy (who was called Tia then) after L's terrible struggles being a dog owner with Marley. Never imagined I'd get sicker, much sicker and that it would only get worse as the year progressed, never better. Never imagined we'd have no summer, just rain and floods. Hmm. A difficult year and there was so much more to it that was hard. I want to believe this year will be better.

Some things seem to be improving, my Uncle gets to have 2 days at home this week, his first time there since he was hospitalised at the beginning of September. They have him on crutches now, though the wheelchair gets used sometimes. I feel bad for not visiting every week anymore but it was exhausting me, and I feel like he has friends from home popping in now that he is much better (no more hallucinations).

I think I have to stop now, but I'm pleased I've written at all, my brain was in the zone (all that rosemary tea) and I had to go with it. This has gathered more momentum than I intended, but I've been bottling it up and the rain and wind pushed it out of me onto the page. This post was typed to the sounds of... Regina Spektor, The Magic Numbers, Neil Diamond, The Fratellis, Air, Blondie, Röyksopp, Portishead, Bent and The Streets. A strange mix which somehow suited the day perfectly. Normal white blogging will resume tomorrow, hopefully.

Janet said...

Dear Cally,

I have just re-found your blog again after losing it sometime last year. It seems there have been some big changes for both of us since then. I'm so glad to have stumbled across you again. I always enjoyed reading your thoughts and seeing the things that you've discovered and loved enough to share with us. Thank you so much for continuing to do it.

Love Janet xx

Andrea Tachezy said...

Dear Cally, I am not sure if I understood everything you wrote. But I thing the main meaning is clear.
I would like to write you so many things, but this is not possible with my knowledge of English.
I think it helps sometimes to write or tell to somebody the things we feel.I belive that this year will be better, though we can´t change some things. I can partly imagine how you feel. When my daughter was small, 4 years I think, I was sick with cavities ( sinuses? ) and after that they found me EB virus.
I was deadly tired from the morning till the evening. Nobody understood, that just to wake up, clean my teeth and take Doroty to the nursery was gigantic work for me.It took me almost a year to be better.
So enjoy everything you can, everything what your body allow you.You make such a nice work with your blog, bringing so many informations! And once I would like to see more of your beautiful papercuts.
One question - what kind of a dog is Lucy? If she is a dog :-)

Cally said...

Thanks, I think you are right, and though I don't like to write down the negative things it is good to be able to look back and see the things we have gone through, especially when they shape our art and way of seeing things.

You are always so very good with words, i loved that bit about the clouds, so true and beautifully put. And the rest, means a lot to me. Thank you.

I'm glad you found your way back, it's so easy to lose track now that there are literally 1000's of blogs worth reading regularly. The link won't let me see which Janet you are, I have several Janets who comment :) so I can't visit your own blog (if indeed you are a Janet with a blog).

Thank you so much for taking the time to translate your thoughts and words I really appreciate it. I've often wondered, when I am sick, how I would manage if I had children.

I am full of admiration and respect for anyone who has chronic illness, or any debilitating illness, and still takes care of their children. I have great sympathy for how difficult it must have been for you doing even the little things (I washed my hair today for the 1st time in 5 weeks!).

Your asked about Lucy, she is a Labrador, 6 years old, much bigger than Frodo. I have some nice photo's of her in my blog archives for May last year. Thanks again for your lovely coment.

mansuetude said...

yes, Cally... it is hard to write about stuff like this...but i can't help thinking that you wrote it so well, with such honesty and integrity. People do write very important journal/books about what goes on inside them... A friend i went to school with got diagnosed with Chronic Fatique syndrome after her PHD. She was angry, her life spent suddenly in exhaustion after all that hard work! We used to workshop our stories together and she could barely spend a few hours at the coffee shop or the bookstore. Before her illness, I couldn't keep up with her antics. Later, she got a grant to write a book of essays about her exhaustion and how it affected her life. Your writing about the walk and the dog, and the neighbors is worthy... well written, people need to hear your voice too.

I have to say, this whole post is a great gift to me. It is like a slap in the face for forgetting my own simplest blessing. I think i needed it. Good medicine, if that makes senes. Thank you!

Tay said...

Cally, I appreciate so much your clear and honest writing about illness. Even though your reality is sucky, your telling of the story of your walk is poetic and inspiring.

Even though what I am going through is different, I can so relate to the dread of meeting people while out and feeling self-conscious about being weak. And then there are the days when I just feel angry and my patience for folks I run into bitching endlessly about things like traffic in very short indeed.

I hope 2008 brings you unfolding joy and ever decreasing pain. The light you bring to this blog is very lovely. Keep on.

miss milki said...

Dear Callie, I have M.E. too and I can identify with everything you wrote. The exhaustion, the pain, the uncertainty whether you're making yourself worse, the circulation getting going... And Yeah I even do that thing where I walk for a few moments with my eyes closed if no-one's around!

I really admire you for going for a proper walk everyday. I try to walk around the block (about 12/14 houses) everyday but I'm not very consistent. Maybe a dog would be a good incentive! I go in the evening when its dark and drag my Dad along to lean on. I've never admitted it to anyone before but I don't like to go in the daytime because I think people will be looking at me, walking like an old lady. And the kids will ask me questions about what I'm doing. Kinda don't feel so crazy now I read about you loving the rain for keeping people in!

I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now and I really love the beautiful things you post about. I think its more important than ever to notice beauty when your life is diminished by illness. The beautiful things in life are what make my days worthwhile. And your blog is one of those things. Thank you.
I really really hope that tomorrow is a better day for you. Lots of Hugs M

Cally said...

i'm so flattered you think my writing worthy! i have to say i hate my writing, but i feel i'll never improve if i don't try, hence the blog.

i'm pleased if my talk of bad days helps someone else appreciate the good things in life. i know that i always like little reminders to keep me on track (especially reminders to b-r-e-a-t-h).

We have so much different but so much in common. I wish the same for you in 2008.

Miss Milki-
so good to read your comment, thanks for taking the time and for sharing your own story.

i'm not as good as you think re. the walks, my neighbour and i both wanted a dog, she couldn't because she works days, i couldn't because i have no money and my home is a building site.

we agreed she'd get a dog and i'd walk it and look after it when she's at work, so i only have her on weekdays.

my best friend, Mr P, has been taking her out 2 days a week for me so this year i've only been walking for 3 days in 7, not sure how i'd cope if it was more.

the day i hate is friday, cause the school kids finish at 12 (lucky kids, finished 4.30 when i was that age). you are spot on about kids asking questions "why are you walking like an old lady?", "why is your hair so messy?" etc etc.

i envy your night walks, i wish i had an arm to lean on under cover of darkness, it can be lovely here at night with owls and foxes around and the stars are bright because we're out of the city.

Janet said...

Cally - there are just thousands upon thousands aren't there? Mine has moved since I was last here, (now but I am the Janet who sent you the Lindt bunnies, among other things, in October (2006? gosh!) with my Easter bunny connections.

Marjojo said...

Dear Cally, I’m trying to look up one blog per day and today it’s yours! I am so very touched by what you wrote about walking Lucy, the field, away from people, I felt I got it all. And I’m so delighted by your writing, funnily enough (or not) the best of your writing hidden away in the comment section the other day - it’s beautiful and evocative and precise, so stop putting your light under a bushel! And thanks for leaving me comments when you’re clearly so poorly yourself. It’s so good to feel connected through our blogs, isn’t it?
I’ve been out today!!! A friend picked me up for lunch and we went to a lovely South-Indian restaurant where I had the most delicious food presented on a banana leaf! Sat propped up against the wall and chatted away to my friend – snatched moments of normality, which feel worth the inevitable ME-aftermath-scenario which will kick in tomorrow. Sending you love and wishing you a much better 2008. And write more!

heather smith jones said...

I always like seeing your work Cally, it is timeless. Truly it is. I really like your top design in this post, so familiar and so beautiful. It sticks with me.
You of course have my permission to post one of my drawings. Thank you so much for asking me first! I admire and respect that so much about you.
Have a good day today!

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